Writers do this all the time, even contemporary authors. At the least, every character has a past that was founded in some era prior to the one we’re reading about. That past gives them fundamental beliefs and values. Likely it contributes to goal, and certainly conflict. So when I mention blending history with fiction, I’m not necessarily talking about that.
I’m talking about interweaving history into fiction as an active part of the plot. This is something that comes naturally to me. I don’t think I could stop it even if I tried. When you get past the author, I’m a historian at heart. Yes, that’s right, I get all dreamy-eyed at documentaries, and I was the sicko in class who always asked the professor for more details while the entire class was asleep.
When it comes to European history, you might as well count me as truly obsessed. Which made crafting IMMORTAL HOPE pretty much an excursion in a chocolate factory. Yum yum.
Add in the fact that second to Ancient Civilzations is my passion for Medieval History and I have to say this was the most fun series I’ve ever plotted, simply for that reason alone.
IMMORTAL HOPE is the collective of documented history, spiced with a touch of speculative fiction. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fiction for a reason. Romance on top of everything else. But the driving aspect of the plot is the written record. Nine nights did ride with de Payans. The world knows they did find something beneath the Temple Mount. They were persecuted at Chinon, and pardons were quietly issued shortly thereafter to several key members. Asterleigh existed, as did Seacourt and Aletorp. And Fulk, the cousin whose soul Merrick is sworn to avenge, was a real man too.
For me, blending history with fiction allows me to believe the story better. I will recognize key details, and if I can ground myself with those realities, when they are altered, I’m more apt to buy into the change. Steve Berry is a master at this, and he blends so seamlessly that the lines between fiction and truth are almost indiscernible within the plot.
Finally, there’s the part of me that would really like a time machine just so I can go back in time. When history is merged with fiction, particularly when little-known places are involved, if all the other details are solid fact, I can thoroughly become lost in the idea of “What if?”
What about you? Do you find it easier to believe a story if history is involved? Or do you find historical details mundane and a distraction to the plot?
Maybe this excerpt, which gives a slight glimpse of old-world dining, will help you decide:
“Dine,” Merrick insisted as he jabbed at her bowl with his spoon, the gesture jerking her out of her thoughts.
Anne stared down at the greasiest bowl of . . . glop she’d ever seen. Merrick said it was stew. But her eyes—and her stomach—refused to consider this mushy concoction as anything but garbage. “Oh. Hell. No.”
She pushed the bowl away and fought back the urge to whimper. She was so hungry her stomach was in knots. But even starving people had their standards, and that bowl of crap defied the minimal ones she possessed.
Spoon poised near his mouth, Merrick lifted one reproachful eyebrow. The men on each side of him—men Merrick hadn’t wasted time in discovering they weren’t meant for her—stared at her as if she’d just committed blasphemy. A blush crept up her cheeks, and she offered Merrick a weak, apologetic smile.
“ ’Tis food, Anne.”
“No it’s not.” No wonder everyone around here had massive chips on their shoulders. How long had it been since they’d had a decent meal? “Is there maybe some salad somewhere?”
Merrick’s other brow shot up. “Salad?”
His companions continued to stare. Behind Merrick, a stranger with long ash-blond hair turned to looked over his shoulder. His gaze narrowed. Cold blue eyes flashed. Dangerous energy assaulted her.
Anne swallowed down unexplainable foreboding and met Merrick’s soothing onyx stare. The uneasy tension in her belly dissolved. “Yeah, you know— lettuce, celery, carrots, croutons?”
A chuckle shook his shoulders, but he refrained from smiling. “A man does not eat leaves.”
Just like they didn’t believe in radios. Somehow that didn’t surprise her. She dropped her spoon to the table, folded her arms over the scarred surface, and gave each gawking face a sugary-sweet smile. The two men hastily turned their attention to their meal. Behind Merrick, the nosy stranger abruptly turned back to his meal. Anne gestured at her bowl. “If I’m going to eat greasy crap, I think I’ll take McDonald’s. Or maybe Pizza Bob’s. He delivers, you know.”
Merrick indicated her food with his spoon. “What did you tell me earlier? Ah, aye, get used to it.”
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CENTURIES AGO, Templar knights defied the archangels and unearthed the copper scroll, revealing the gates to hell. Cursed for their forbidden act, they forever roam the earth protecting mankind from evil. But darkness stalks them, and battles they fight bring them ever-closer to eternal damnation. One promise remains to give them salvation – the return of the seraphs.
Embittered by his purpose, Merrick du Loire must honor an ancient pact and bring peace to his cousin’s soul. When he stumbles upon history professor Anne MacPherson, he discovers she possesses a sacred artifact that marks her as a seraph. Duty demands he set aside his personal quest and locate the knight she’s fated to heal. As he struggles with conflicting oaths, Anne arouses buried hope and sparks forbidden desire that challenges everything he’s sworn to uphold.
Anne has six weeks to complete her thesis on the Knights Templar. When Merrick takes her to the Templar stronghold, he presents her with all she needs—and awakens a soul-deep ache, he alone can soothe. Yet loving Merrick comes with a price. If she admits she's destined for him, her gift of foresight predicts his death.